The COVID-19 crisis and talent mobility

Managing a mobile workforce in a new era

The situation is changing daily, and Mercer is committed to helping organizations respond to these unprecedented challenges with regular updates, articles, and surveys.

The current COVID-19 crisis reminds us that sending employees on international assignments can be a huge responsibility and a difficult task to manage. During such a crisis, assignees might need to be evacuated at short notice. Others may try to stay in their assignment locations where little information and practical support are available.

HR teams are on the front line when dealing with some of these dramatic events and have to address a host of questions related to duty of care, relocation, reward, risk management, and compliance.

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Managing cost-of-living issues

Thanks to our international network of correspondents, we are monitoring changes in cost-of-living globally and are committed to delivering accurate information throughout the crisis. The latest editions of our cost-of-living surveys were released on schedule in May.

A dynamic compensation situation

Concerns about the economic impact of the virus have also led to significant exchange rate volatility in recent weeks as well as uncertainty about inflation and availability of goods and services, which will also affect cost-of-living allowance (COLA) figures. Mercer recommends reviewing the home/host combinations of your assignees and your pay delivery approach to assess the potential impact and determine an appropriate way forward on COLA updates.

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Deserted city street

Addressing quality-of-living issues

Mercer is a leading provider of quality-of-living data to compensate mobile employees fairly for going to a host site with a lower quality of living than that in their home location. During the crisis, we are monitoring the situation in over 400 locations globally.

A shared quality-of-living crisis

In order to slow down or stop the transmission of the coronavirus, countries around the globe have implemented many measures that limit travel, public gathering, availability of certain goods and services, personal mobility, and many other aspects of routine life. Mercer recommends temporary adjustments in quality-of-living premiums in locations heavily affected by the viral outbreak. As the situation evolves, so will our guidance for clients.

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Supporting your workforce

Unsure of the best way to support your workforce during the crisis? Download our free guide with ten considerations to bear in mind.

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Talent mobility: looking ahead

The pandemic is a chance to reflect on talent mobility, its effectiveness, and its contribution to the resilience and success of business.

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The rise of virtual assignments

The effects of the COVID-19 outbreak will likely transform many aspects of "business as usual," and talent mobility will be among them.

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Issues and solutions

What talent mobility problems have arisen during the pandemic? Find them outlined here – along with possible solutions.

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Restarting your program

Featuring highlights from Mercer's recent surveys, this article and presentation show how to get mobility programs up and running again.

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Assignee experience

Assessing the experiences your mobile workforce are having while on assignment is critical to retaining talent. Start by asking them.

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COVID-19 and talent mobility Is the novel coronavirus affecting your daily business, processes, and expat employees? How is your organization handling the global health emergency? And how do you compare to your peers with respect to risk management strategies, budget allocation, security and emergency policies, and other mobility policy factors? Take our short survey for insights.

10-minute survey

Virtual assignments Virtual expatriate assignments have quickly emerged as a tool for mobility managers to cope with staffing needs during the pandemic. Assess the feasibility of them for your organization, and equip yourself with resources to help them work effectively.

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Coping with the pandemic: resources for employers To provide clients access to our latest thinking and resources, we have created a site that includes analysis of emerging global trends, tips to support employees, and strategies to mitigate the impact of the crisis on the different parts of your business.

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Dealing with emergencies Who to evacuate in case of emergencies? How to deal with the logistical challenges of having to repatriate a large number of assignees? Should you revise the assignment packages? Here is a summary of the key mobility issues when dealing with emergencies.

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